Douglas Fraser and ‘attitudes’ to independence

By stewartb:

This comment is prompted by the above from the BBC News website: ‘Scottish election 2021: Many manifestos, but for what?’ written by Douglas Fraser, BBC Scotland Business/economy editor.

I offer these extracts from a section entitled: “What difference can Holyrood make anyway? Mr Fraser argues: “The answer to that DEPENDS ON YOUR ATTITUDE to independence.” (my emphasis) So for Mr Fraser it would seem that ‘ATTITUDE’ trumps the actual legal powers given and withheld under the terms of the devolved settlement!

And then he adds: “ THERE’S A LOT THAN CAN BE DONE AT HOLYROOD, and done differently. Reforming business rates, for instance.”

So of all the key levers that are available to manage/transform an advanced western economy, this is the one factor he opts to highlight. Is that really the best economic lever available to the Scottish Parliament and Government that Mr Fraser can come up with?

He goes on: “And A LOT OF ECONOMIC LEVERS AT WESTMINSTER SHAPE THE ECONOMY IN SCOTLAND . You emphasise what can be done, and what can’t, according to political TASTE”

Let’s look at what this ‘A LOT’ actually amounts to: (i) to be in or out of the worlds biggest single market; (ii) trade policy; (iii) immigration policy; (iv) labour market policy; (v) key factors still in personal taxation; (vi) all corporate taxation; (vii) VAT rates; (viii) monetary policy; (ix) unlimited government borrowing; and (x) central bank quantitative easing – I could go on and on.

Now let’s weigh all this against Mr Fraser’s top tip for changing the Scottish economy that is within the gift of the Scottish Government – business rates reform! Butter Mr Fraser it’s just a matter of TASTE how one assesses the balance of power and influence between Holyrood and Westminster!

There is more: “Holyrood can allocate funds, but doesn’t determine the SCALE of them or when they’re withdrawn. That’s for Downing Street.”

But hey – there’s still a lot than can be done at Holyrood isn’t there – even though Westminster actually controls scale and availability of public expenditure? There’s business rates reform – is that not enough to be going on with?

And then we have Mr Fraser seeming almost to suggest that independence supporters shouldn’t worry our little heads about where government power resides in the UK because actually key levers are held elsewhere anyway:

“But be careful of the idea that the levers of economic power, spending and tax can be pulled by one government or another, and things happen. It’s not that simple.” (Let’s leave the patronising tone to one side!)

He tells us: “There’s so much more that cannot be controlled; the impact of global economic forces, business investment decisions, consumer sentiment, social change, and new, disruptive technologies. Government, whether Holyrood or Westminster, can only hope to steer a course through economic waters that can sometimes be very turbulent. Now is one of those times.”

So Holyrood can steer reforms of business rates whilst Westminster steers using the levers of most fiscal, all monetary, all trade, all immigration etc. etc. policies? And it’s not really all that important because …!

15 thoughts on “Douglas Fraser and ‘attitudes’ to independence

    1. Tell the deluded fellow to go and take a wee deek at Ireland,Denmark,Finland,Norway to name but a few
      Then compare what can be achieved when full control is allowed to apply the real economic and social levers, compare to the UK.
      In the following areas
      GDP/ Head of population
      State pensions
      Trade surplus/deficit
      Level of debt
      Then you soon realise what Westminster
      Is all about

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott
      Bang on
      Off late their is a distinct difference in NS
      responses to loaded Questions
      She has so obviously been coached and toughened up,but in a commanding and pleasant way
      That is the reason A Marr was so tame today,he was caught off guard and quickly found out his old tricks were no longer effective and he at the end was at a complete loss
      But be warned his masters in the Dark forces are now sitting bolt upright
      Seeing if there are ways of sharpening the attack dogs canines
      Know thy Foe

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Westminster claimed that the main reason for secession from the EU was that too many economic and political decisions were not in their hands.
    Taking aside this largely false claim,compared to what Scotland is “allowed” to do within England’s Union they had pretty well full autonomy.
    One of the founding objectives behind the UK union was the elimination of Scotland as an independent political entity and that is still the present modus operandi of the British establishment.
    The idea that Scotland might act independently of English control is anathema to Westminster and they will resist that at all costs.
    That is why Full Fiscal Autonomy will never be “granted” by Westminster to Scotland and why they will continue to determine what happens in our country.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Signs of Marr losing it becoming apparent- Dominic Johnson? – Herald, aah, Glasgow Herald- when it was Sunday Herald- + only had the researchers attack lines, showing no mid-interview flexibility.Arse skelped- his tetchy uums&errs not tolerated- his house style has become fusty…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Of course, the BBC in Scotland is above political agendas and have no interest in promoting and supporting a culture of learned helplessness. It’s not as if their legal existence does not compel them to advance and support the cohesion of Britain, or that their narrative isn’t focused on maintaining Westminster’s myopic and parochial diktat.

    British Discourses on Europe: Self/Other and National Identities

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fraser, the BBC and statistics. They have not got a clue. Westminster Brexit will be a catastrophe. Scotland voted to Remain, Scotland could chose no Trident or illegal wars. Saving £Billions, Millions and saving the world. £Billions which could be better spent and peace in the world. Scotland would not have to pay repayments on loans not borrowed or spent in Scotland. The Scottish Gov could have been more prepared and ready for a pandemic. Westminster total mismanagement.

    The Scottish Gov could decide the relationship with Europe. Increased the pop and expand the economy. Scottish revenues and resources would not be used to support London S/E. Monies could be used to improve the rail links in Scotland. Not spent on HS2. A total waste of monies. The administration of Scotland is so much less but Scotland has to pay for Westminster bureaucracy. Supporting jobs in London along the Mall.

    Scotland could have higher pensions and less administration of secondary benefits. The administration is almost as much as the pension payout. More could be invested in the SNHS and education. Not redundant weaponry. It is never used but sold on causing death around the world. Selling illegal weaponry to the most repressive regimes. Against International Law. Scotland could stop tax evasion and raise more revenues and resources. Scotland self sufficient in fuel and energy pays more despite being nearer the source.

    The BBC employees have not got a clue. Westminster propaganda. Cost £5Billions year. A total waste of monies.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve felt over the last year or do that D. F. Was thoroughly pee’d off with Brexit and had started to see the benefits of Indy.
    I reckon he could have been a lot more (unjustly) scathing if he’d wanted to be . But what do I know?

    Liked by 1 person




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